Looking for a sneaky way to eat a delicious meal and gain tons of health benefits at the same time? The answer is as simple as lentils. Lentils are a powerful food packed with vital nutrients that your body didn’t know it needed.
As part of the legume family, lentils are one of the oldest crops known to man and have been around for about 10,000 years. Lentils come in a wide range of colors, tastes, and sizes and are packed with all the nutrients you are looking for.
If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern food or Indian food, you’ve found probably seen lentils incorporated in their menus. Lentil soups and stews dominate these cuisines and have recently become popular in Western culture due to their various benefits.
Vegans and vegetarians can rejoice because lentils are a great substitute for meat and will give you all the protein you need for a balanced diet. Even if you don’t adhere to a specific diet, you can still make lentils a routine part of your diet.
Benefits of Adding Lentils To Your Diet
A cup of lentils contains:
- 18g of protein
- 16g of fiber
- less than 1g of fat
- minerals and vitamins
- 40g of carbohydrates
- 230 calories
1. Great Source of Protein
If you’re planning on trying a vegetarian or vegan diet, you don’t have to worry about a protein source. Lentils have a high amount of protein, which is needed by the body to strengthen and repair muscles.
Along with our muscles, the protein in lentils helps with fatigue, stress, and mood swings that may occur with a meatless diet.
2. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Due to its high quantities of fiber and magnesium, a standard dose of lentils can help to prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. Maintaining low cholesterol is imperative for a healthy heart and the prevention of artery blockage.
Heart health is also directly related to the levels of magnesium in your body. Maintaining the right amount of magnesium in your body can prevent future heart issues and improve blood circulation.
3. Maintains a Healthy Gut
Perfect for patients suffering from constipation, the high dietary fiber present in lentils aids the digestion process. In order for healthy digestion to occur while you’re on a diet that contains lentil, drink plenty of water to get the digestive tract going.
4. Promotes Weight Loss
As mentioned, lentils are low in fat but high in nutrients such as protein and fiber. With only 230 calories in a cup, lentils have the ability to stop you craving for a snack every half hour. Having lentils for lunch or even dinner will keep you feeling full for longer periods of time and encourage you to forget about wanting dessert.
5. Keeps Blood Sugar in Check
The high levels of fiber present in lentils has yet another health benefit. Soluble fibers in lentils trap the glucose present in carbohydrates and slow down digestion. Patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia should take advantage of lentils because blood sugar levels are maintained through this process.
Keeping blood sugar in check also promotes better moods and keeps you fueled with energy throughout the day.
6. Good Source of Iron
Another reason for vegetarians to celebrate, lentils contain iron. While iron is mostly found in red meat, lentils contain a good amount of iron, as well, which is the key component for hemoglobin and enzyme systems that promote metabolism.
Give Lentils a Chance
Lentils are easy to store and have a long shelf life. Preparing lentils can be easy and it doesn’t take up too much of your time. Next time you’re at the grocery store, head down to the lentils section and give them a shot.
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Wilcox, J. (2012, July 17). 7 Health Benefits of Lentils. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5488/7-Health-Benefits-of-Lentils.html
Babcock, J. (2017, August 01). Lentils Nutrition Facts, Benefits and Recipes. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from https://draxe.com/lentils-nutrition/
(n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=52